Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cupcake Hero::October [Pumpkin/Halloween]

When both Cupcake Hero and Flavor-of-the-Month announced the theme of "Pumpkin" for October, I promptly headed to the store so I could begin experimenting.  Despite reports of a canned pumpkin shortage, I was able to procure hoard a nice stock for my pantry. (A cold, rainy growing season produced smaller crop yields, making it difficult for consumers in some parts of the country to find canned pumpkin on store shelves. Believe me, it wasn't easy to find those few precious cans!)  It's hard to believe, but until 2005 I can't remember liking or even eating anything pumpkin!  Now?  I've got two pumpkin-stained silicone spatulas to prove otherwise.

My Cupcake Hero entry for this month is: 

Peeptastic Pumpkin-Bottom Cupcakes with Cinnamon Chip Glaze

Like their more famous Black-Bottom Cupcake cousins, these pumpkin cupcakes hold a sweet surprise:  a cheesecakey center!  The pumpkin cupcake base comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World--the same one I used for Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes, minus the chips.  A bit of pumpkin pie spice added to the cake served as a perfect foil for the cream cheese filling, kept ethereally light by using only the whites of the egg.  It's finished off with a cinnamon chip glaze and Halloween candy decorations. Pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, and marshmallow--how can that possibly be anything but delicious?!?! Here's a peek inside:

Ready to make some of your own?  The Halloween Peeps® can be found pretty much everywhere, but the cinnamon chips and puffy candy corn might be a little harder to find.  I got everything at Super Target.

Peeptastic Pumpkin-Bottom Cupcakes with Cinnamon Chip Glaze
Makes 12.  Adapted from VCTOTW (cake part)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg white

1 cup canned pumpkin
 cup oil
1 cup sugar
¼ cup soy milk (I used 2% milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. salt

⅔ cup cinnamon chips
1 ½ tsp. shortening

Prepare filling:  In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 Tbl. sugar, and egg white until smooth.  Place large piece of plastic wrap on counter.  Pour filling onto plastic wrap, and form a log by wrapping up the filling in the plastic wrap and twisting the ends.  Place on a plate and freeze for approx. 30 minutes or until firm enough to slice.  (The log might flatten out to a rectangular shape, that's okay.)

When 30 minutes are almost up, preheat oven to 350°F.  Place paper baking cups in 12-cup muffin pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla together by hand.  Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Stir to combine with a spatula, taking care not to overwork the batter.  Batter will be quite thick.  Portion into 12 muffin cups using an ice cream scoop.

Remove cheese filling from freezer and unwrap.  Cut into 12 blocks.  Place one filling block in the center of each cup, pressing down until the top of the block is even with the top of the batter.  Don't press them all the way down; there should still be white peeking through.  Bake in preheated oven for 23-26 minutes.  Transefer to rack and let cool before glazing and decorating.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare for decorating:  As much as I know you want to, don't pull the Peeps® apart by hand!  The edges will be raggedy and it might distort the shape somewhat so separate them with a sharp knife.  You will also need to trim the bottoms of the cats and ghosts to give them a flat surface to stand on.

For the glaze, place cinnamon chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat on HIGH for 30 seconds.  Stir well.  If chips have not melted, microwave for another 5 to 10 seconds and stir again.  Apply glaze using an offset spatula, and press a Peep® and puffy candy corn on immediately.  The glaze sets quite quickly, so if it starts to harden in the bowl before ou're finished decorating all the cupcakes, throw it back in the microwave for a few seconds.


  1. Thanks for letting us sample. They were adorable and delicious!

  2. I knew you'd do something spooktacular ;). Using cream cheese in the cake is an inspired idea and that shot of the middle is money. Am I silly for thinking the ghosts are dancing?

  3. First of all, I'm jealous that you have a SuperTarget. I love plain, old, regular Target and can't imagine how long I could shop in a supertarget :D These are adorable!! I had no idea there was a pumpkin shortage.

  4. Keri - You're very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed them :) Hope Miss Lily gets better soon!

    Xiaolu - Thanks, I liked the inside view as well; I'm so happy the cream cheese didn't sink to the bottom. You're not crazy, those ghosts DO look like they're dancing! And the cats do not look pleased.

    Kim - Yes! SuperTarget is wonderful. My sister and I tend to follow a "no basket" rule when we go there--only buy what you can carry! For groceries I go to a local market, but I love to browse SuperTarget for junk!

  5. Those are frightfully spooky! I love it!

  6. Haha I was never much of a cat person (probably cause I'm allergic). But the real reason I'm back is to let you know I posted an award for you on my site.

  7. Howdy, ive just come over from the cupcake hero page. I love your ghost cupcakes! Im thinking about making some pumpkin cupcakes for halloween-YUM!